Escobar can maintain winning run on the opening day

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The first day of Newmarket’s Cambridgeshire meeting takes centre stage this afternoon and the Group 3 7f Sommerville Stakes for juveniles is the most valuable event on the card. Aidan O’Brien sends over Naas maiden winner Whitecliffsofdover although the form of that success has not yet been franked. He is 7/2 with BetVictor but others are preferred.

Hydroxide was a disappointment for Hugo Palmer earlier in the week but Escobar (3.40) is taken to maintain his unbeaten record for the yard having impressed when landing a listed contest at Newbury last month.

The form was boosted when Frankuus won a listed contest at Haydock stepped up in trip earlier in the month, and Escobar is an exciting prospect. The selection is 11/8 at BetVictor and Frankie Dettori keeps the ride.

Sir Fever is a fascinating runner in the listed Rose Bowl over 2m but this former Uruguayan import has stamina to prove and wears cheek-pieces for his British debut. Seamour deserves to get his head in front following a series of consistent runs and he and Fun Mac are the benchmarks with the latter bouncing back to form at Salisbury last time.

She Is No Lady (4.15) flopped in the Ebor having been backed into a warm favourite last time and she is surely better than she showed at York. She had looked a progressive stayer prior to that run on the Knavesmire and gets the vote; she is 4/1 at BetVictor and that looks a fair price.

I can’t wait to see William Hunter over eight flights of hurdles for Alan King having been really taken with his recent Ascot win for which he has been put up 5lbs by the handicapper. This represents a step up in grade, however, and my two against the field are Appeared and Frontiersman (4.50) with marginal preference for the latter stepping up to 12f for the first time.

The selection is a son of the great mare Ouija Board and has only had three career starts to date winning a Newbury maiden before disappointing in a muddling four-runner race at Sandown when last seen back in August. The selection holds an entry in the Old Rowley Cup, sponsored by Godolphin, next month.

All eyes at Perth will be on the mouth-watering Novice Hurdle which sees the last two winners of the Cheltenham Festival bumper Ballyandy and Moon Racer (3.20) go head-to-head on their hurdle debut and it promises to be a cracker.

Both horses are currently priced at 16/1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham next March with BetVictor and preference for the David Pipe-trained runner is marginal.

The selection finished runner up in the Punchestown Festival bumper in April having been off the track since landing the 2015 Festival Bumper. I just think Moon Racer might have too much pace for Ballyandy over the minimum trip over timber and it is possible that the latter will end up in the Neptune rather than the Festival opener next spring.

Nigel Twiston-Davies has saddled the winner of the 2m 4f Novices’ Chase three times in the last six years and his Flying Angel (4.25) won the Imperial Cup over timber last year before finishing runner up at the Festival. He has the size and scope to jump a fence, has winning form right-handed and is an exciting novice.

Twiston-Davies saddles point-to-pointer and bumper winner Ballymilan in the 3m Novices’ Hurdle and he can make a winning debut for the yard in a race that might not take much winning. What A Moment represents David Pipe and has the best form on offer, but he looks more of a chasing type to me and Ballymilan gets the nod.

At Pontefract, Cartwright (6.10) was given a poor ride in a slowly-run affair at Chelmsford last time but should have the race run to suit in the apprentice handicap over 12f and he can thwart |Luca Cumani’s Pacharana who is chasing a four-timer for the yard.

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